The Duggers come to my house every morning. And the other evening they came here for a wedding of one of the daughters.
No, not in person. On my television set. Somehow they've pushed out the early morning news and the female residents of the house follow their old episodes on television.
I don't understand the popularity of their show whatsoever really. What it tells me in part is that, in spite of what sociologist like to claim, and in spite of what feminist wanted, the age old interests remain and are genetic in nature. Women of all ages are really interested in domesticity including watching the weddings, marriages, and child rearing of other families. Men may take an interest, but not enough to watch an hour of a bunch of people we don't know.
Beyond that, I really truly think the Duggers popularity, combined with all the vast number of shows that are somewhat related (all those wedding dress shows, the show on the worlds most boring couple, Guiliana and Bill, etc.) are a symptom of something basically human becoming rather rare. Its weird, and its disturbing.
It's weird and disturbing as the popularity of these shows seems to indicate that in an era when women in particularly are more separated from traditional families and traditional roles, at some level the deep attracting to some elements definable appeal, and people who would claim the opposite should give some thought to that. The Duggers portray what is basically as semi rural Southern family, dressed, on the female side, in a fashion that recalls the 1920s and 1930s. They're sort of like the female characters in The Waltons times five. So what we see there is that something that was norm, nor nearly the norm, for most people not all that long ago is now deeply fascinating to people who aren't experiencing anything too close to it now and that its also so novel that it merits a television show. The wedding dress shows likewise show women doing something that most women did, and did only once, not all that long ago, and much less expensively. Now the novelty of it both fascinates and builds a formerly relatively routine event up into a colossally expensive and novel one. Guiliana and Bill is the urban flipside of the Duggers, presenting the concept that young, hip urban (and exceedingly boring) couples can have it all, including an overendulged infant, all while remaining hip, cool, and boring.
Now, don't get me wrong here. I'm not condemning any of these people (well, okay, I am Guiliana and Bill as they're as dull as wallpaper paste). Rather, I think this shows something that tells us something, and not necessarily something good, about what has become unusual or novel in our society.